Tuesday, October 28, 2008
But that's socialism... right?
"Anytime you build a road, anytime you build a school, anytime you try to create jobs, anytime you provide Social Security, you are redistributing wealth. And by the way, if we can redistribute wealth to greedy bankers, why can't we distribute some to needy Americans?"

-Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter on The Colbert Report


posted by Mike Clawson at 12:17 AM | Permalink |


At 10/29/2008 05:55:00 PM, Blogger M James

Another interesting point is that the biggest "redistribution of wealth" program we have in America is the Earned Income Tax Credit. It takes money from normal Americans and "spreads" it around to less fortunate Americans.

Who enacted that program? Ronald Reagan.

What a marxist!



At 10/31/2008 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

intellectually honest fiscal conservatives would be vehemently opposed to the massive bail-outs which have occurred recently for our ailing banking and investment industries. in fact, many prominent conservative pundits -did- label those bail-outs as "socialism".

i agree that if we can/should/must give tax money to IGN or WaMu, we can/should/must give it to the indigent.

i'm not 100% convinced we can/should/must give it to either, but i would say it has to be both, or neither. either government's role is to redistribute wealth, or it isn't. personally, i think it isn't. but our current system of inequity makes no sense, and the inherent bias towards protecting the wealthy is clearly a disaster.


At 10/31/2008 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

What do you think of Alter's larger point, which is that anytime the government does anything for the common good with tax-payer money, that is a redistribution of wealth? It seems to me that conservatives saying they're against "redistributing wealth" is disingenuous since they're clearly not totally against it (they're still for building roads and schools and tanks, etc.) They just differ about who and what it should be redistributed to.


At 10/31/2008 02:31:00 PM, Anonymous Karl

Several years ago I read a good article by Ron Sider making the same point. Both Ronald Reagan and (name any democrat) believe in some level of government interference with the economy, and some level of taxation and use of those tax dollars for the common good.

As Mike points out the real questions are things like "how much" and "for what purposes" and "to whom" rather than whether there should be any interference/redistribution at all.

A common conservative answer is that education, construction of infrastructure and maintaining a national defense are all valid functions of government and that taxation and redistribution for those things is legitimate and necessary. Whereas they might disagree with redistribution for other social programs either in toto, or on a case-by-case basis.


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